What begins as a young woman's desire for vengeance and a group of girls roped into the scheme quickly snowballs into an uncontrollable torrent of accusations and soon the quiet town of Salem is embroiled in suspicion.
The film begins in the early hours of darkness as a group of girls steal from their beds and into the forest under a full moon, there they dance and gather round a cauldron to mix a love potion. The ringleader is Abigail Williams, the villain of the story who is driven by sexual desire and jealousy. At the height of the bacchanal dancing Reverend Parris stumbles upon the girls, causing pandemonium and frenzy as they flee running and screaming, bar his daughter Betty who stands rooted to the spot in frozen terror. This is the first example of hysteria which is a key aspect of the film and will eventually lead to tragedy.
In contrast to this chaos a peaceful morning scene of Betty sleeping follows. The director introduces the key aspect of Abigail's malicious nature when Betty cannot wake from her unexplained unconsciousness and so Abigail violently shakes her, then changes her manner to one of feigned affection only to promptly alarm her again. Abigail thre...
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... Corey and Rebecca Nurse by his sides, ultimately becoming martyrs for the truth. In contrast with the other hangings scenes which have a savage atmosphere as the crowd chant for the deaths of the accused, there is a subdued tension amongst the crowd, as they see they and their theocratic society have condemned upright figures of honest work, common sense and purity. The ending of The Crucible is important to summing up the film as their death symbolically show the sacrifice of the values these martyrs represent.
The Crucible captures the audiences attention as they are lead from naive and jealousy driven beginning which is summed up in an awe inspiring finale revealing the true `guts' of the characters. The director effectively leads us to this point through a build-up of hysteria intermingled with lost chances to calm the chaos and put an end to the tragedy.
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